By Qosim Suleiman
The Nigerian government has said it would uphold its commitment to the No work, No Pay policy in its dealings with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, restated restated this on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja, DailyTrust reported.
Mr Adamu was quoted to have reemphasised the government’s position during a brief interview with the State House Correspondents, insisting that the government would stick to its commitment and “would not pay for the work not done.”
Mr Adamu also denied that the government was casualising the work of the academics.
“Nobody can make university lecturers casual workers,” he said.
The government’s insistence not to pay the salaries of the lecturers from February to October, when they were on strike, was met with criticisms by the lecturers.
Other non-academic workers including members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and other Associated Institutions (NASU) also had their salaries withheld for about four months when they were away from work.
But ASUU members did not announce the suspension of its strike until 14 October when it clocked eight months that they had stayed away from their duty posts.
The lecturers accused the government of not paying its members’ full salary for October but the government has insisted that the lecturers only worked for 18 days in the month.
The development has sparked further outrage among ASUU members, as the union accused the government casualising Nigerian academics.
On Tuesday, members of the Lagos zone of the union carried out a protest rally at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, and the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), demanding the full payment of their salaries.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had intervened and the union expressed optimism that the withheld salaries would be paid in batches.
However, with the latest insistence by the government, there are doubts that the government would yield to the pressure by the union.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on 1-covered issues around the globe
Source: Premium Times